November 4, 2018

Exporting Extremism

By Melissa Ryan

Last week is still hard for me to process. It began with two black senior citizens murdered by white supremacists in my hometown of Louisville Kentucky, continued with a radicalized Trump supporter sending pipe bombs to prominent progressives across the country, and ended with a horrific mass shooting at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue that killed eleven people, the deadliest anti-semitic attack in America’s history.

For the far right, the violence is a feature, not a bug. As I’ve written before, Trump and his army have put humanity on the ballot box, asserting that an ever-growing number of people are enemies of the people not worthy of being considered human. And in the final week before the midterms, despite the events of last week, hate is their literal closing argument. Trump isn’t able to unite Americans against hate because he doesn’t want to.

Extremism isn’t just an American problem. I was traveling in London last week, participating in a variety of meetings, briefings, and presentations around the far right/online radicalization and meeting people working on these issues across the globe. The recurring theme across every conversation was America’s role in exporting extremism. From radicalization powered by America tech companies, to our President, to American money that funds extremism in the UK and other countries. Our hell is everyone’s hell, and America bears some responsibility for it.

I also sat down with HOPE not hate to talk through our priorities for the newsletter moving forward, some of which was informed by reader feedback. (Thank you for that by the way. I love hearing from you.) We have loads of new research coming up, some of which will debut in CARD, that I’m really excited to share with you all. Next year we plan to do a lot more on the transnational nature of the far right. I’m convinced that no one country or entity is powerful enough to stop them. I want CARD to play a more active role in mapping out these networks and building the coalition we need to disrupt them.

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